- History and Culture
During the 19th century, Bel Ombre vastly expanded its sugar production thanks to technological improvements– and a favourable price on the international market. Charles Telfair arrived in Bel Ombre in 1816 and significantly changed the way agricultural production was carried out, bringing in new methods, species and technologies. After the abolition of slavery, the first experiments of indentured labour in Bel Ombre included the hire of Indian convict labourers, which was implemented with several unfortunate incidents prompting its end. This was followed by the arrival of indentured labourers and the rise of the price of sugar leading to the expansion of production and associated activities, such as the use of Côtiers boats for transport by sea and the establishment of railway facilities within the estate. After a sharp drop in the price of this sweet commodity, Bel Ombre owners sold the plantation to a wealthy Indian, who from his native country undertook the building of the Bel Ombre Chateau. The estate was bought back by Mauritians in 1910 and the latter helped shape the plantation to what it is today.